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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Research integrity is much more than misconduct – Nature (C. K. Gunsalus | June 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on June 20, 2019
 

All researchers should strive to improve the quality, relevance and reliability of their work.

Start a conversation about research integrity and many researchers will assume you’re talking about misconduct. Too often, they are wrong.

Research misconduct encompasses fraud, fabrication and plagiarism. It is essential to deal with such dishonesty thoroughly and fairly, but it’s patching up a tear after the damage is done. Research integrity includes such investigations, but it is much more. It is about creating systems that boost the quality, relevance and reliability of all research.

The distinction is clear at the 6th World Conference on Research Integrity, being held this week in Hong Kong. Yes, there are sessions on misconduct — but there are many more on improving science overall. The biggest impact on research integrity is achieved through sustained improvements in day-to-day research practices — better record-keeping, vetting experimental designs, techniques to reduce bias, rewards for rigorous work, and incentives for sharing data, code and protocols — rather than narrow efforts to find and punish a few bad actors. (Both are important, of course, and sometimes the same policies can address both problems.)

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Establishing Rules for Ethicists and Ethics Organizations in Academic Publishing to Avoid Conflicts of Interest, Favoritism, Cronyism and Nepotism (Papers: Dr. János Tóth, et al | May 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on June 19, 2019
 

Abstract: A proliferation of publication venues, scholarly journals, use of social media to disseminate knowledge and research results, scientific information, increased international scientific collaboration, a move towards open knowledge and data sharing, recent scandals such as journal editors’ coercive citations, fake peer review, peer review rings, data fabrication, research spin, and retraction of articles, several of the latter within the emergence of a post publication peer review movement, are some of the many reasons why publishing ethics are constantly evolving. These challenges have led to the birth of an increasing number of guidelines and recommendations being issued by multiple organizations and committees around the world in light of the recognized need to salvage peer review, and in an attempt to restore eroding trust in science, scientists and their publications. The principal objective of these guidelines and recommendations is supposedly to provide guidance for editors, reviewers and authors to conduct honest and ethical research and publishing practices, including responsible authorship and editorship, conflict of interest management, maintaining the confidentiality of peer review, and other ethical issues that arise in conducting and reporting research. Despite the fact that scholarly publishing is an international enterprise with global impact, current guidelines and recommendations appear to fall very short on imposing any obligations on their parent members, i.e., committee members who issue guidelines and recommend solutions for ethical dilemmas especially when such organizations are dependent on commercial publishers who may be paying members. Obviously, financial incentives indicate that ethical organizations or ethicists are not in a power position compared to editors or publishers. Imbalanced guidelines risk that hidden conflicts of interest, cronyism, or nepotism may corrupt the decision-making process or the ethical hierarchy that has been put into place to safe-guard research and publishing ethics. Therefore, the ethics gate-keepers to the integrity of scholarly publishing should also be carefully scrutinized, and strict ethical guidelines have to be imposed on them as equally as their rules are imposed on global academia to avoid the risk of further corrupting the scientific process as a result of the absence of strong exterior regulation or oversight. This theoretical paper highlights signs of favoritism and cronyism in ethics. It also offers proposals for rules (limitations and consequences) to avoid them in science publishing. Our guidelines should be used by academics in the position of authors or editors who may sense, perceive or detect abuses of power among ethicists.

Keywords: organization ethics; ethical dilemmas; corruption; conflict of interest

Teixeira da Silva, J. A., Katavić, V., Dobránszki, J., Al-Khatib, A. and Bornemann-Cimenti, Hel (2019) Establishing Rules for Ethicists and Ethics Organizations in Academic Publishing to Avoid Conflicts of Interest, Favoritism, Cronyism and Nepotism. KOME: An International Journal of Pure Communication Inquiry. ISSN 2063-7330
Publisher (Open Access): http://komejournal.com/files/KOME_MS_rulesethicists.pdf
ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/333311739_Establishing_Rules_for_Ethicists_and_Ethics…

SPEECH: Actions to advance research integrity – Dr Alan Finkel AO (6th World Conference on Research Integrity | June 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on June 17, 2019
 

Looking around the room today, I’m reminded that research truly is a human pursuit: it thrives on face-to-face connections.

It’s easy to forget that, when you’re a student, and it’s late at night, and you’re the last person left in the lab – again.

So, every so often, it’s worth pausing to remember just how many people are out there, working hard, gathering data – just like you.

Worldwide, there are more than eight million researchers.

Every year, we produce well over a quarter of a million new PhDs.

China alone has added more than a million people to its research workforce since 2011.

Not all of these researchers will work in academia – but those who do are highly productive.

They publish in the order of four million academic journal articles every year, spread across more than 40,000 journals.

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“Our current approaches are not working:” Time to make misconduct investigation reports public, says integrity expert – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | June 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on June 9, 2019
 

With the 6th World Conference on Research Integrity (WCRI) underway in Hong Kong, C.K. Gunsalus, who has served as a research integrity officer, expert witness in scientific integrity cases, and consultant, argues in Nature this week that universities should “Make reports of research misconduct public.” We asked her a few questions about why she has changed her mind about this issue.

Retraction Watch (RW): We have of course been campaigning for universities to release investigation reports for some time, and have published a number of them following public records requests and reviews of court documents. What led you to this call to make them public?

C.K. Gunsalus (CKG): I argued the opposite position for many years, decades, even. What led me to this call is that our current approaches are not working: not for credibility of investigations, not for reinforcing research integrity, not for protecting the integrity of the research community.

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